KOUROU, French Guiana—In June, when President Donald Trump told his military leaders to create a new branch of the military dedicated to space, the words rippled across the US military and political landscape. Soon after, the generals said they would work to comply with the order. At rallies, Trump’s crowds began to chant, “Space Force! Space Force!”
But chatter about America’s desire to dominate space did not stop there. Trump’s declaration reached even this remote coast of South America, where the Amazon River muddies pristine Atlantic waters, and jungle dominates the landscape.
Last Friday morning, Alain Charmeau met with a handful of reporters at the Hotel des Roches in Kourou, the small town outside the European Space Agency’s spaceport near the equator. As the head of the Paris-based Ariane Group, Charmeau oversees Europe’s family of launch vehicles, including the Ariane 5 rocket. During the discussion, Charmeau addressed a number of different topics, including the recent speech where Trump directed his generals to separate current responsibilities for military spaceflight from the US Air Force.